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on 28 May 2003
While this book wont make you a millionare it is a well written study on how people tend to create there own luck. sometimes our attitude towards life has a great effect on what opportunities show up and for this reason alone this book is worth buying.
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on 8 January 2004
Although there are some interesting ideas in this book, there is an awful lot of padding; and believe me it takes an awful lot of padding to stretch 4 ideas into 200 pages.
It soon becomes irritating to have so many re-statements of the same ideas and "quick re-caps" and end-of-chapter summaries. No-one has an attention span that short!
The 4 ideas themselves are fair enough: 1. maximise your opportunities, 2. listen to your hunches, 3. expect good fortune, and 4. turn your bad look into good.
Where the author weakens his own case is by over-stating them. For example, in number 1, he tells us that at a party of 50 people you are two handshakes away from 4.5 million people. Well, sorry, but [like pyramid selling] this just doesn't add up. The reality is that most of the 50 people at any party will know the same people, not a whole new set of 50. My point is that the argument is valid enough without over-stating it like this.
The discussion of the main ideas is disappointingly one-dimensional. For example, the author refers to effects of extraversion on luck. This is interesting and, since we know from twin studies that there is a genetic component to extraversion, this raises the possibility of a genetic factor in luck. However, this idea probably doesn't really sit too well with a self-help book, however interesting and isn't developed.
Finally, I found myself reaching for the sick-bag after the 92nd story from the Pollyannas who seem to populate the author's world of lucky people. Check out Marvin "who always wanted to be a private detective...a few hours later he walked away with headed stationery, business cards and his dream job." [p.117] You would have to have no sense of irony not to laugh out loud!
I notice that the author has quite a few books and so on; all seemingly based on this one idea. No-one could accuse him of not pushing his luck!
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on 10 June 2006
This is actually a rather dishonest book, selling itself as science when really it is merely self-help. There is some interesting research hidden in here to be sure, but the basic premise is fundamentally flawed by confusing mere positive attitude (making the most of opportunities) with genuine random luck (chosing numbers that win the lottery). The great "revelations" contained are all therefore well trodden self-help themes.

This would be an honest book if it sold itself as maximising your opportunities, and as self-help no doubt it might be effective. But anyone expecting (justifiably) anything more from the title of the book will be disappointed. No doubt the dubious spin put on this theme has increased the luck - and bank balance - of Robert Wiseman though...
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on 22 March 2012
What a brilliant book, Richard Wiseman is extremely knowledgeable in his subject and shows that we actually make our own luck. He shows that if you want to improve your luck, you should: Maximize Your Chances, Listen to Your Instincts, Expect to Be Lucky and Look on the Bright Side. Four very simple instructions to bringing your own luck, I felt more positive and felt more lucky after reading this. The book is very well written and is an easy read, as he has a very friendly and approachable manner. His conclusions were very well-supported with facts, and thankfully the steps to improve your luck were easy to understand and to implement. His book has moved me to purchase his other titles as well. Would reccommend to anyone interested in self help. Good luck!
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on 5 May 2003
The basic premise of the book is that lucky people (ones who have happy and fulfilled lives) have a common view of the world and set of behaviours that lead to success, whereas unlucky people have a different set that trap them in unhealthy situations. The most interesting aspect of this book is that the author's conclusions are founded on extensive empirical studies, unlike many books in the field of self-help/improvement which are usually someone's pet theory about how the world should be. This makes what is written both understandable and believable, with clear descriptions of why certain approaches to life lead to desirable outcomes. It would be interesting to see if the author's use of properly conducted studies is adopted by the field of counselling and self-improvement; it is sorely needed. The only reason for the 4/5 rating is that the book is a bit repetitious.
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on 29 October 2014
Jack is unlucky. He tripped over and broke his bones.
Jill is lucky she found a ten pond note on the floor.
Write down ten ways you could be more lucky today. He is some pop psychology to help you....

Totally useless.
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on 31 March 2016
This is perhaps one of the best GENUINE self-help books that you'll ever read, and I say that as someone who tried several different books by people I now recognise to be charlatans. For a period I had been seeing a personal guru who introduced me to the concept of the Law of Attraction, and for a period I swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Needless to say it caused me a lot of unneeded suffering and misery, for the very reason that the various books teachings were centered around a supernatural concept. Additionally the notion is that should you encounter bad luck or suffering it is all your own fault due to negative thinking and other equally ridiculous logical fallacies.

Like Richard Wiseman's '59 Seconds', this book is based on foundations of legitimate psychology, but here you will not be bogged down by anything you won't understand. Instead the book, to its great credit, is presented on layman's terms. It explains how it is that though the majority of people will encounter equal amounts of both good and bad luck, but it is their manner in which they handle situations where they have a change of mentality. A person who perceives themselves as 'Lucky' for example is more likely to take advantage of opportunities, or will spot opportunities far easier than a person who encounters 'bad' luck. Indeed the two sides could even interpret a car crash differently, with a person with a 'Lucky' mentality interpreting it as "At least I'm still alive". The difference with a "Unlucky" person would be their interpretation of "Just my luck, I WOULD have to get into a car accident wouldn't I!"

This is what makes this book so wonderful, and indeed can help it SEEM like there really is a 'Law of Attraction'. But instead of basing its conclusions on notions centered around the supernatural, we are given rational explanations as to why certain people in life appear to do better than the rest of us. Having a good mentality about life also draws more people to you as well, therefore increasing your own social circle.

As a sort of companion piece, I would also highly recommend that you read Danny Wallace's 'Yes Man'. I know some 'Law of Attraction' bloggers have cited it as the book to kick start the 'LOA' in your life, but if you're a rational human being, you'll see how silly that is. However the two books together will certainly make it FEEL as if such a thing does exist. However it is far healthier to have a change of mentality rather than an abandonment of sanity.
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on 3 October 2015
This is a book about a study done some years ago to compare people who considered themselves lucky with people who thought that they were neutral and also unlucky people. The subject is very interesting, of course and the book, if nothing else, will give you food for thought. As far as I am concerned it confronted me with the fact that although my life has been a bit of a mess so far I should consider myself a very lucky person and the bottom line is that I have the profile of a lucky person, reason why I have thrived despite quite a few setbacks. One of the most interesting parts of the book is the Luck School, where unlucky and neutral people learn how to turn their lives around and eventually become lucky people. Lucky people also became even luckier after they applied the principals to all aspects of their lives. The author uses a lot of examples of people he came across during his research, which makes the subject easier to understand.

Basically, in order to turn bad luck into good luck you need to learn to trust your intuition, need to have a wide network of people around you and need to expect good fortune (the principle of the Law of Attraction). There is also the link to a website where you can register and take part in further research. I haven't looked into it yet but I am going to do it right away. All in all although the book could be even more thorough it is a very good first approach. I can imagine that by now this research is a lot further.
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on 6 February 2003
This book is excellent having always considered myself as lucky I wanted to find out why and if I could improve it- I did.
The book is well researched full of personal ancedotes and case studies. The best thing about this book is it's laid back easy style with humour and interesting exercises that get you to think about your life.
If you wanna change your luck and life then it's a good book to start with but remember you've got to do the work to get the rewards.
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on 1 August 2009
The basic principles being promoted in the book are sound and can give a more positive outlook on a reader's life. Frankly I can't think of many instances that would be a bad thing. However the evidence used are mostly personal anecdotes which gives the book a new-age, 'if you don't believe this then you're a repressed loser' feel rather than a truly scientific analysis of luck. The book also touched on some interesting philosophical subjects without expanding the debate where one is due (e.g. whether it is sensible to get everyone fired up and expect their life is perfect if they think it will or to have left some room for inevitable disappointments and misfortunes that no amount of will power can overcome)

Although to be fair it is pretty hard to quantify luck and the author had made a commendable effort at summarising an almost infinite number of variables that makes up the human experience. Buy it and see it as an interesting reference. (It should have a label on it that say: NOT TO BE FOLLOWED RELIGIOUSLY)
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